10 ex-NPA rebels in Antique get livelihood grant

General

Some 10 former rebels in Antique received a livelihood settlement grant from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Thursday.

DSWD Antique provincial coordinator for the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) Geralyn Flores, in her message, said the grant was given to the former rebels for them to come up with a livelihood as they start a new life.

“The grant is being given to let them feel that the government is concerned about their welfare,” Flores said in a short ceremony at the Productivity Skills Capability Building (PSCB) training center in the provincial capital.

Five of the recipients are from the Municipality of Sibalom, three from Culasi, and two from Sebaste and each received PHP20,000 as capital.

Antique provincial government Peace and Order and Public Safety (POPS) consultant Margie Gadian said the former rebels should strive to make their livelihood projects sustainable because these will be monitored by the DSWD.

Last year the provincial government extended PHP10,000 each as an aid to individuals in crisis situations (AICS) and as part of Executive Order No. 70 or the “whole-of- nation” approach.

One of the recipients, alias Jongjong, who was 16 when recruited in February 2020 by his friend alias Guiller, was lured by the New People’s Army (NPA) in Barangay Imparayan, Sibalom.

He stayed with the NPA for almost six months helping to recruit members.

“Since I was only a minor then, I only helped in the recruitment and also in collecting the goods such as rice among the community folks,” he said.

He admitted that there were two of them minors when he was with the group. The other one was a 17-year-old from Miagao, Iloilo.

The former rebel said he will use the amount to start a business.

Alias Guiller, on the other hand, said he thought he would have a better life when he joined the NPA when he was only 18 years old.

“I only later realized that life with the rebel group was more difficult than when we were with our families,” he said.

He added that they escaped from the rebel movement in July 2020 and went home to their families who facilitated their surrender to authorities.

The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

The NDF has been formally designated as a terrorist organization by the Anti-Terrorism Council on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA created in April 1973.

Source: Philippines News Agency

Source: Philippines News Agency

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